Navis Capital to pay $241m for Zew Zealand poultry biz

Mainland’s founding shareholders will retain a significant shareholding in the business and senior management will remain in their present positions.

Private equity firm Navis Capital Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Mainland Poultry Limited, the leading producer of egg and egg products in New Zealand, with over 1.2 million layer birds across seven farms.

Sources familiar with the transaction told Agri Investor that the sale price is in line with the previously reported NZ$350 million ($240.5 million; 221.2 million), which would include the “incremental investment cost” of converting the farms to free range.

Mainland’s founding shareholders will retain a significant shareholding in the business and senior management will remain in their present positions, Navis said in a prepared statement.

Mainland has national footprint across the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The business is split between its eggs and feeds decisions. The former, called Zeagold, markets eggs in supermarkets through the Farmer Brown and Woodland brands; while the latter, MainFeeds, produces animal feed for both internal needs and customer requirements.

“Our objective is to transform Mainland into the pre-eminent agribusiness in the Oceania region with strong export linkages into Asia,” Navis partners Philip Latham and Ravi Jeyaraj said in a joint statement.

Navis acquires controlling stakes in its portfolio companies to “drive growth, margin improvement and asset efficiency,” with a “low reliance on leverage to drive its equity returns,” according to the company’s website.

The firm manages several private and public equity funds totaling $5 billion, whose investors include US, European, Middle Eastern and Asian commercial and investment banks, pension funds, insurance companies, corporations, foundations, high-net-worth individuals and family offices.

Navis’s previous portfolio investments into the food sector have included Godaco Foods, Thailand’s Golden Foods Siam, as well as global brands Dunkin Donuts and KFC.

“We were impressed by Navis’ history of investment in the food sector and believe the firm shares our passion for providing healthy and nutritious protein to all New Zealanders,” said Mainland managing director Michael Guthrie.

The transaction is subject to New Zealand Overseas Investment Office consent.